Networks and Security

Networks and Security Session

2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, February 24 in person at CSL 141

Keynote Speaker – Benedikt Bünz, Incoming Assistant Professor of Computer Science at NYU Courant Institute


“The Prover Paradigm for Blockchains”

Talk Abstract: Blockchains are an exciting area of research that touches on many areas of Computer Science and beyond. This technology has the potential to enable a fast, cheap, and private financial system based on distributed consensus and cryptography, instead of trusted parties. Despite this potential, the reality still shows severe limitations of blockchains: (i) transactions can cost hundreds of dollars and take minutes to confirm, (ii) some blockchains offer little privacy, and (iii) proof-of-work consensus consumes too much energy.

In this talk, I will discuss powerful techniques that follow a prover paradigm and can mitigate these limitations. The first technique, called Bulletproofs, is a general-purpose zero-knowledge proof system that is specifically designed to enable confidential blockchain transactions. Bulletproofs requires minimal trust assumptions and provides the shortest zero-knowledge proofs without trusted setup. The second is HyperPlonk, a critical component in building highly scalable SNARKs for compressing transactions and increasing the scalability of blockchains. The final technique is a new concept called a verifiable delay function (VDF) that is vital for permission-less and eco-friendly consensus.

Biography: Benedikt is a researcher interested in applied cryptography, consensus and game theory, especially as it relates to cryptocurrencies. His work focuses on enhancing the privacy, usability and security of blockchain protocols. He is the cofounder and chief scientist of Espresso Systems. He will be joining NYU Courant as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the fall of 2023. Previously he was a PhD student at Stanford and was advised by Dan Boneh. Outside of research, he runs competitevly for the peninsula distance club and enjoy travelling, especially in inconvenient vehicles.

Invited Student Speaker – Daniel Amir, PhD Candidate in Computer Science, Cornell University


“Optimal Oblivious Reconfigurable Networks”

Talk Abstract: Circuit-switched technologies have long been proposed for handling high-throughput traffic in datacenter networks, but have traditionally been incapable of supporting low latency on their own due to long reconfiguration times. Recent developments in switching technology have made rapid, nanosecond-scale reconfiguration possible for both electrical and optical circuit switches. However, classical circuit-switched network designs that attempt to reconfigure the network in response to demand are inherently unable to take advantage of this new capability.

This talk describes Shale, a practical, scalable network design which follows the novel Oblivious Reconfigurable Network (ORN) design paradigm. The ORN paradigm is capable of effectively utilizing modern, rapid circuit switches. While ORN designs have already been proposed and even demonstrated on physical test-beds, existing designs face scalability limitations and are thus unable to support datacenter-scale networks on their own. Shale generalizes the existing designs to achieve a tunable tradeoff between throughput and latency scaling, which is always Pareto optimal among ORNs (up to a constant factor). In order to deliver low latencies in practice, Shale utilizes a high-performance hop-by-hop congestion control mechanism, as well as a congestion-avoiding routing optimization. Shale’s design is agnostic to the switching technology, and thus enables ORNs in all domains to be scaled to far larger network sizes, up to and including datacenter scale.

Biography: Daniel Amir is a Ph.D. candidate at the Computer Science department at Cornell, where he is advised by Hakim Weatherspoon. His research focuses on datacenter networking in the post Moore’s law era.


Student Speakers

Milind Kumar Vaddiraju

“Proof of Service: Trust-free OCS for Decentralized Cellular Networks”

Sarah Hagen

“Using Nonclassical Resources to Strengthen Two-Party Zero-Communication Reductions”

Ian George

“One-Shot Distributed Source Simulation: As Quantum as it Can Get”


For more information, please contact the session chair, Harjasleen Malvai (